BizStarts aims to serve Latino and Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs with its expansion to the south side

Dan Steininger, president of BizStarts.
Dan Steininger, president of BizStarts.

Last updated on March 30th, 2022 at 01:18 pm

BizStarts plans to launch its business education program on Milwaukee’s south side to assist Latino and Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs.

The entrepreneurship organization said it’s been motivated to expand its BizStarts Institute after seeing the success of the program at St. Ann’s Center for Intergenerational Care, which has served largely Black entrepreneurs on the city’s north side.

The institute is based on programming from Michael Morris, a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Notre Dame, who has developed curriculum and experiential learning programs for entrepreneurs living in conditions of adversity.

The new south side BizStarts Institute will be held every Saturday between Sept. 18 and Oct. 22.

Nelson Soler, president of the Multicultural Entrepreneurial Institute and of the Latino Chamber of Commerce, and Maria Watts, manager of community development for WHEDA and a BizStarts board member, are helping create the bilingual program and curriculum.

“BizStarts has been a tremendous resource for our local entrepreneurs as we work together to build an ecosystem of greater economic opportunity in Milwaukee,” Watts said. “I look forward to working with our community partners to create a bilingual BizStarts Institute to help our Latino business community grow and thrive.”

After completing the six-week class, program participants will be paired with mentors and student consultants to assist them in implementing what they learned during the program. All mentors, student consultants and coaches will be bilingual, BizStarts said.

“This initiative will bring internationally renowned training to our community. I am honored to be part of this initiative and proud that BizStarts is ensuring that the training is culturally and linguistically relevant for our thriving Latino community,” Soler said.

BizStarts, which has been planning for its expansion to the south side since last year, met with leaders from the community to develop curriculum based on the needs of the Latino community, the organization said.

Last summer, BizStarts announced plans to move out of its Schlitz Park headquarters to be able to provide programming in the neighborhoods it serves. Leaders said establishing its new office at St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus campus would allow the organization to better promote entrepreneurship in underserved areas.

“With this initiative, BizStarts becomes the only organization in Milwaukee that is totally focused on creating entrepreneurs of color by providing the knowledge they need to start and scale small businesses. I hope this gives the greater Milwaukee community the confidence to purchase exponentially more goods and services from these small businesses,” said Frank Cumberbatch, chair of the BizStarts board and vice president for engagement at Bader Philanthropies.

Last week, the organization received a $870,950 grant as part of Gov. Tony Evers’ administration’s allocation of $86 million to support small businesses in communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic that have historically had difficulty accessing credit and capital.

BizStarts was founded in 2008 by entrepreneurs Dan Steininger and John Torinus with the goal of providing coaching and mentoring to early-stage startups.

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